Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June Update: Agents and Dreams

Big news! I had an agent request a partial manuscript. I sent off the first hundred pages to his assistant a couple weeks ago. And now I wait.

I also have collected 25 rejections and closed out five more, so I'm halfway through my list of 60. That's more than I originally planned to send out, but hey. A lot of the interviews I've read have said somewhere after 50 was their magical number. Me, I'm hoping 24 is still mine. I really, really want this agent to represent this book. Like, more than anything. And I can finally admit that. I was trying to play it cool, but I am not cool. I am freaking out.

Anyway. Finger crossing and positive vibes my way are much appreciated.

I have fairly little news outside of the query quest, though.

ConQuest was fun. We hung out with Jonathan Maberry. He is a fantastic human being. He tried to convince me gin is tasty by inviting me to try his gin martini. I still remain unconvinced, but hey, I got to take a sip out of Jonathan Maberry's drink. I also won Story-in-a-Bag for science fiction. That was a pleasant surprise. I've now won once in all categories. I feel like I can retire, now. Plus, I may have outgrown it at this point. I did it this year because I decided to revert back to fan rather than participant for one last year, with the idea that maybe next year I'd have a book published or close to published or something. I dunno. Until I have something to promote, I'd really rather attend cons as a fan. Since I do not have the credentials to sit with some of the folks on editing panels. At this point, my only contribution is hire a good editor. Just not me.

Anyway.

I published my Cafe story, but I'm not writing one this month.

I should be editing a novella for Rachel this week or next.

I did some edits on the first Druid Wars book. I'm excited for that one! Jack is, too. He's been doing a bunch of druid research, so the timing on this is about perfect. I have no clue what I'm doing for book two, but hey. Book one is awesome. If a bit lean. It was only 64k words. It's only 67k words now, so I'm hoping Jack can tell me where it needs more. I have two scenes I want to expand after this most recent read-through, so that should bump me up to 70k. I'd like to see it at 75k at the least, but anything about 70k is within industry standard.

And this whole update is a TL;DR: I have not been working on book three.

I think I'm ready though. I did some more brainstorming yesterday. I read over my outline, and it's actually pretty solid. There's a few things I still need to figure out, like where certain subplots should go, but I know how to wrap up almost every character and I have the final battle figured out.

I just need to write it.

I'm hoping to throw some words at it when I'm on vacation next week. And then I'm doing July Camp NaNo with it, so hopefully I'll get about a thousand words a day. I'm going to aim for 10k by the end of June, which only puts me, what, 50k behind?

It's ok. I've kinda scrapped my project timeline. I know what order to work on things. It was useful when I wasn't sure. But things have fallen into place and it's clear what to work on in what order. Right now, anyway. Book three is first priority. Druid wars book one is second priority. And third priority is to spend this November writing something new for NaNo. The next adventure novella is lower priority, but I would like to get episode 2.1 finished by the end of the year.

In order to achieve my goals, I need to be writing a book a year. I wrote most of Towers of Kansas last year. This year is Scions of Mythos. Next year probably Order of Osiris. That's my general goal, for now. One book in one of my big trilogies per year, one to two novellas for the adventure series for fun, and a new project every NaNo so the well never runs dry.

I'm not sure if short stories fit into that or not, but I am going to keep trying. The Cafe is important to me. I will keep writing for it as long as other people keep writing for it. And I have short stories to tell within my existing worlds.

I'm also not sure where publishing fits into this. I had a super long private blog post the other day about my plan for that. Those plans haven't changed yet. But they may if this agent actually likes my book. And where one agent out of 30 has asked for pages, it stands to reason that at least one more might out of 30 others. I'd written off the chances of representation for this book. But now it's back on the table. Or at least, there's a possibility of it going back on the table.

I'll spend more time talking about my self-publishing plan in a few months. Once I know for sure whether or not an agent decides to represent me.

But, in short, the idea is, in two years, to put out all three MystWatch books over the course of one year. Every two months, then the box set. Then the year after that, put out short stories until I can release all three books of the Druid Wars series in one year. And then a year of other shorts until I can put out all three books in the Pandemonium trilogy. And then I'll either go back to MystWatch and do Scion Slayer, or maybe look into doing the Dante novels, of which there may be anywhere from three to five, depending. There's also the adventure novellas I could potentially do, although maybe not under my name, so that may not help. I also have a second-world fantasy series that could potentially come next. That's going to be six books as I have it planned right now.

I'm really aiming to do a trilogy a year, every other year, for as long as I can sustain it. I figure after ten years of doing that, I'll meet my goal of being able to quit my full time job at that point. And why stop there? I'll have ten years' worth of new ideas from NaNo each year to work with, too, in theory. And undoubtedly could write more in the MystWatch world, if I wanted.

And then maybe I can do a trilogy a year instead of every other. But at that point, I may not have to.

The too long don't read version of all that is, I probably won't have a book published for another two years. Which is fine. I still think I can reach my first goal and get a book published before I turn 40. And once I do, I'll pick up momentum and not stop until I can quit my day-job. Which should take about ten years, by every calculation I've done.

So hey. In twelve years, I should reach my second goal.

I can only imagine the third goal will follow within the next ten to fifteen years after that if I keep the writing up.

And considering I've been writing since I was in middle school, I have faith. In myself and in the plan. Even when I've claimed not to be a writer, I've still been a writer. I have three decades of history being a writer, so it stands to reason I will keep it up for another three decades, at least.

I see it working for Rachel. I truly believe she'll be in good shape in four more years, which would be the ten-year mark for her.

This thing is achievable.

We just have to keep writing All The Books.

So that's what I'm going to focus on. I'm done querying agents for a few months (I have, like, three more I want to try at some point, but I'm not in a hurry there). I probably won't worry about Cafe stories or adventure novellas until after book three is done. I will have some editing projects, but that's it. Maybe a beta read. Potentially beta reader feedback for book two.

But all of that has to take a back seat. I've procrastinated long enough.

It's time. I will spend the next three to four months writing book three. I'm going to stop telling myself it's late and that I'm behind, because I think that's also stressing me out. I'm right on time. The time is now.

You can't see me, my time is...

Dude, John Cena, get out of my head.

I'll check in next month and let you know how all that is going.

Happy Summer Solstice (and Litha)!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May Update: Finally feeling motivated

I don't have a lot to add this month that I didn't cover in last month's update.

Line edits came a week late, so I did them this month instead of last. But! The book is out and it is glorious and Rachel dedicated it to me and made me cry.

I shouldn't have any more book-length projects this year until Kevin gets me his book. Rachel has a few short stories and novellas to throw my way, but those don't take long at all. I should be able to mostly focus on my own stuff the rest of this year, with short breaks to edit for Rachel and Kevin throughout.

I am still querying book one of MystWatch. I'm up to fourteen rejections, with queries out to six at the moment. That puts me a third of the way through my agent list. So that's coming along. More and more I'm thinking this isn't going to be the book that lands me an agent. It's a good book and there's a small group of friends and family who love it, but I don't think it's going to be a huge commercial success. But querying it is good practice. It is also something to make me feel productive while I work on book three and try to clean up other novels.

I haven't done much in the way of working on book three, though. I did spend some time brainstorming some ideas for the YA trilogy in my MystWatch world. I have another scene partially written and I'm solidifying more characters and what the motivation of the big bad might be. That's been a fun one. I'm really no good at YA and I don't read much of it, but it'll be a nice change.

I've been working on a Cafe story this month. My first in a couple of months, so that's good. It's writing, even if it's not much. I'm having fun with it. The prompt was to write a story based on song lyrics. I've always wanted to do "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" so I am, finally. Only I'm kind of making him a good guy, because he's actually hunting werewolves. I've had the song stuck in my head for days, of course. But I still chuckle when I think of it.

I've all but abandoned my adventure series at this point. I want the whole thing to be written because I really like the character arcs, but getting there is painful right now. I haven't quite gotten the formula for each adventure down yet, plus I keep changing the formula even when I nail one down. I also keep trying to write these stories without enough research. I've really pants'ed the last two, and when I got to this one, as fun as it is, it is also going to require more research. The whole series needs research and I'm too lazy at this point to do it. Or maybe less lazy and more disinterested. Other things are more interesting.

Like druids! I really want to push ahead with Druid Wars. Most of book one needs minor tweaks. The first chapter needs a rewrite (my first chapters always do, grr), but the rest are minor things. A few lines here and there. Now, it still needs a beta read. So more might be needed after that. But. I can't even get people to beta read book two of MystWatch. So I'm a bit stuck. I'm hoping the husband will look at it when he's done school. I'm pretty sure that's the next series I want to do.

My Pandemonium series is really original and awesome, but the first book is such a mess. Every time I go in to fix it, I get overwhelmed. Eventually I'll make a to-do list and just do one thing at a time. It's just figuring out where to start. Some things will affect other things. Every time I start pulling on a thread, all of it threatens to come unraveled.

What it all comes down to is, I wish I had more hours to dedicate to writing. I am at a computer for 40 hours a week for the day job. And when I have freelance projects, it's more like 60 hours a week. With the precious few hours I have left, I have to eat and sleep and hang out with my family and walk my dog and read books for fun and get in touch with nature. Therapist appointments and massages and friend/writing group obligations. There's just too much and it's hard to prioritize.

Once I get my writing career rolling, I'll be able to look forward to the day when I can focus more time on it.

Not sure if I've mentioned my goals here, but I plan on being able to write full time within ten years of publishing my first book. And within twenty-five years, I plan on having made a million dollars writing. I'm keeping track. I have a spreadsheet. I just added another $2.50 for the story I sold to Empyreome. I think that puts me at $275 so far. Wooo!

I really thought coming here to talk about my lack of progress for the last month would leave me feeling depressed. But amazingly, I feel more motivated now. I do have a plan. And even not having written a lot, I am still taking steps toward my goals.

And hey. ConQuesT is this weekend. That always recharges my creative batteries, too.

It's May. It's my time of year. I should be able to get back in gear and make some progress after this weekend.

Y'know. As long as life doesn't do anything else to completely derail me. Knock on wood.

Friday, April 21, 2017

April Update: Slow Month, but Gearing Up

It's been a slow month as far as productivity. My least productive month so far this year. I still have another week to throw words at various projects, so I may at least end up on par with last month's word count. But. My writing mojo has taken a hit the last couple of months, obviously.

It doesn't look like the first adventure in the second season of my adventure series will get done by the end of Camp NaNo after all. I do hope to get it done by the end of this year, but it probably won't be until later. I don't feel too bad about putting it off, though. I'm still not certain anything will ever come of this series, so for now it's just supposed to be a fun palate cleanser between larger projects.

I have been gearing up to write book three for MystWatch, though. I've poked at it a day or two without adding much to it this month, but I did tweak the first chapter so I'm not stuck anymore and added stuff to the outline. I should be ready to start seriously writing starting in May.

Still, this month won't be a total loss, even if I don't write any more words. I did a developmental edit on Rachel's next book from Bottle Cap Publishing. I'll probably get line edits for that sometime next week. I have also started to query the first book in my MystWatch series again. I'm back to following my original plan there, where I'll send it out to five or six agents at a time until I get through all the agents on my list, then switch to publishers. I haven't ruled out self-publishing, either. Rachel has been very encouraging, saying that it's a solid enough book that I should do well either way I decide to go.

I had a bit of a job scare yesterday. More and more of my coworkers are being laid off. After spending about an hour looking at potential job prospects, I got really, really motivated to kick into a higher gear as far as my writing career. I can't face another admin pro job, and editing jobs, especially locally, are few and far between. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I haven't been serious about getting a book published--after all, that's been the primary focus of this blog since its inception six years ago--but I've definitely increased my urgency. It's time. The first book is ready. I'm ready. Let's do this.

Of course, this also means getting back to actually writing. I need to work on the third book. And other books, in case this series doesn't land an agent or publisher. I have two other potential book series that may do better, I just need to edit them and clean them up for submission.

Anyway. My plan for this month is to write as many words as I can for episode 2.1 on my adventure novella and do line edits for Rachel's book.

For the rest of the year, my plan is to write book three over the next three or four months, give episode 2.1 another go, write a couple of Cafe stories, then try something completely new and different for NaNoWriMo in November.

Also important to note...I've left my Decembers open for relaxing on my updated project timeline. After NaNo and around the holidays, I'm no good at working. Maybe that'll change this year, but I'd rather look forward to a scheduled break than realize three quarters of the way through the month that I'm not going to get anything done. It's bad for moral.

And as I discovered at work yesterday, low moral equals low productivity. It's a vicious cycle.

One I intend to break when it comes to my own work any way I can.